Special Delivery: Florida EMT Helps Transport New Heart for Uncle

Charles McCain
Charles McCain

Teddy Ross, an emergency medical technician, had just driven a heart by ambulance to Mayo Clinic when he realized that the heart was for his uncle, who was there awaiting a transplant.

What started out as just another "ordinary day" for Teddy Ross quickly turned into a day he and his family will never forget. It all started, Florida's First Coast News reports, when Teddy, an emergency medical technician, received a page instructing him to drive his ambulance to the airport for a pickup in Miami. "Four or five physicians climb off [the plane] and two of them were holding a cooler," Teddy tells the station of what he saw when he pulled up to the runway. "In my head I was like, 'Hmmm … a heart?'"

The physicians confirmed that suspicion as Teddy drove them and their precious cargo to Mayo Clinic's Florida campus as quickly (and safely) as he could. It wasn't until he pulled away and started his return trip to Century Ambulance Service in Jacksonville that the possibility of what he may have just done began to sink in. Teddy immediately called his mom to share the potential good news. "I couldn't believe what I just did," Teddy tells the station. "I just transported my uncle's heart."

As Teddy was making his special delivery to Mayo Clinic, First Coast News reports that Charles McCain, Teddy's uncle, was lying in a hospital bed. He'd been there since early April. Congestive heart failure, which he was diagnosed with five years before — at just 41 — had weakened his heart beyond repair.

Charles' only hope for survival, the station reports, was a heart transplant — a transplant that would take place just four days after being added to the transplant waiting list. And just one day after Teddy made a delivery neither of them will ever forget. "The first thing I thought was, 'Dang, I should have been nicer to him,'" Charles tells the station of his reaction to finding out that Teddy had been the one to transport his new heart to Mayo. "I'm proud of him," Charles then added. "He's grown up to be an exceptional young man."

While he still has a lot of recovery ahead of him, Charles says he and his new heart are already getting along quite well. "I feel great — I really do," he tells us. "I already feel like I have a lot more energy, and I can also breathe a lot easier now. That's been the biggest, and best, change so far."

Change that's all thanks to Charles' organ donor, his transplant team at Mayo Clinic, and of course, Teddy. "It honestly hasn't changed anything between us," Charles tells us. "We've always been close."

And that, Charles' transplant surgeon at Mayo Clinic, Rohan Goswami, M.D., tells First Coast News makes this story even better. "It's a pretty remarkable situation," Dr. Goswami says.

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